Russia and the West Must Allow Ukraine to Resolve Crisis

Feb 20, 2014, 07:17 ET from World Review

VADUZ, Liechtenstein, February 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --


THE CRISIS in Ukraine has entered a new and dangerous phase. Although Ukraine is still some way from outright civil war, the absence of any sign of willingness on either side to step back and compromise is worrying, writes Professor Stefan Hedlund, Research Director at the Centre of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden in World Review.

Moscow is bent on ensuring Kiev does not sign any form of agreement with Brussels, which would mark the end of its own ambitions of restored status as a regional great power. The West in contrast is bent on precluding precisely this from happening.

'The real paradox of this game is that neither side appears to have any desire at all of actually integrating Ukraine,' says Professor Hedlund. 'The Ukrainian economy is now in such a terrible state, and Ukrainian politics so ridden with corruption and infighting, that neither of the two outside powers want anything to do with it.'

The impact on Ukrainian politics of this internally inconsistent tug of war has been devastating. Successive governments have realised that playing Russia and Europe against each other is a winning strategy.

'The track record of broken promises and soured relations has now reached a point where outside interest in the future of the hapless country is just the overriding desire to prevent the other side from gaining the upper hand,' he says.

Only days before the bloodshed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned of disaster and called on both sides to effectively step back and allow Kiev to sort out its own mess.

'There is wisdom in this,' says Professor Hedlund. 'Outside involvement has been part of the problem, not the solution.'

Meanwhile, the situation in Kiev is marked by what is best viewed as the last stand of the Yanukovych regime.

Read the full World Review report here

About the Author

World Review author Professor Stefan Hedlund is Research Director at the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, at Uppsala University, Sweden.


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